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April 19, 2014

Fox issues cease-and-desist order to Swiss Family Guy Robinson

by Julia Ward, posted Feb 5th 2007 5:32PM
Froud Swiss Family Guy RobinsonBack in July, Richard gave you the scoop on comedian Brian Froud's theater show Swiss Family Guy Robinson. Froud's one-man act is essentially a staged mash-up of Johann Rudolf Wyss' 1812 novel and Seth MacFarlane's animated series. Froud's show was a hit at Toronto's Fringe Festival, but his chances of ever staging the show again are slim to none. Fox has slapped Froud with a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized use of Family Guy characters.

Froud and his creative partners tried to attain the right to do the show through standard legal means, but were ultimately shut out by Fox's lawyers. What makes this a particularly interesting case is the story of Rick Miller's parallel saga with a one-man show called MacHomer, which mashes-up the Shakespeare tragedy with Matt Groening's creation. Groening actually saw Miller's performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and gave Miller his blessing. Apparently, Groening exercises more control over his properties than MacFarlane, who deferred to Fox's corporate ruling on Froud's show. This is sorta the theater equivalent of the Dangermouse Grey Album controversy - what's an homage, what's creating something new, what's borrowing too much, what's a satire, etc. If any of you out there have any brilliant ideas about how to solve the riddle that is intellectual property law in the post-postmodern age of digital distribution, feel free to post them here.

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andre

Swiss Family Guy Robinson Shut Down by Fox!
http://www.thestar.com/article/177253

The one man Toronto Fringe Festival smash hit has been shut down by fox. Major media is picking up the story and news is spreading fast. A petition has sprung up to save the one man show.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/swissfamilyguy/index.html

More news on Brian Froud's site http://bfroud.com

There's even an interview with froud coming up on Entertainment Tonight Canada.

andre

February 07 2007 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James


MAnki, excellent point

February 06 2007 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ManekiNeko

Yeah, we certainly wouldn't want someone making money by stealing other peoples' ideas. You know, because Family Guy is the absolute pinnacle of originality, with its fat stupid dad, homebody wife, whining daughter, and dimwitted, rebellious son.

JR

February 06 2007 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TVblogger

Assuming that this act this guy does is really, really funny it makes no sense to me why FOX wouldn't want to get behind the show. Maybe even feature a recording of the act on their website. Show that they encourage fan participation in their shows.

This is ridiculous, and more evidence of why networks are never going to succumb to catering to the very people that fund their business.

February 05 2007 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Arc|Angel

Would this not also fit as a parody? Those are allowed under copyright.

February 05 2007 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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